Tomcats defeat Guelph at Emslie

 Fishback hooks Tomcats a victory


   The second baseman drove in three runs on a pair of doubles as St. Thomas

   rallies from down 3-1 to defeat Guelph 7-3 in Junior IBL action


  Saturday, July 24, 2021


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ST. THOMAS - Alex Fishback helped the St. Thomas Tomcats hook a comeback victory.

The second baseman had three RBIs, including a two-run double giving the Tomcats a 5-3 lead in the fifth inning, on their way to defeating the Guelph Silvercreeks, 7-3, in Junior Intercounty Baseball at Emslie Field.

St. Thomas moves to 4-2 in the standings and 6-2 overall in 2021.

"We booted the ball around a little bit in the early innings. We gave up three runs but only one of them was a earned run," Tomcats' coach Paul Pettipiece said. "The guys know we have a good hitting club. One through nine everyone is going to compete. It was a good win".

Guelph led 3-1 after four innings, capitalizing on a couple St. Thomas errors.

The home team rallied with five runs in the fifth inning, ignited by a bases loaded two-run single by Jackson Van Bakel, to tie the game.

"Sometimes it just takes a couple batters getting on to get things going in the dugout," said Fishback, who followed with a two-run double, for a 5-3 St. Thomas lead. "To get the energy going. A couple of guys get keys hits and from there you just go."

Alex Liem made it 6-3 with a RBI single.

In the sixth inning, the Tomcats added a run on a bases loaded walk to Will Martini.

"It takes a bit to get back into it after a year off I will say that. I'm glad our team is coming the way it is, even after a year off," Fishback said. "We're hitting the ball well. We're pitching well. We're playing great baseball. It's a great atmosphere."

Fishback put St. Thomas on the board in the fourth inning with a RBI double, cutting a Guelph 2-0 lead in half. The Tomcats' second baseman finished the game two-for-three, with one base on balls.

"We've been playing for just three weeks and we're this good," said Fishback, but added there are still areas for improvement. "You can't come back from a year off and be perfect. Cleaning up defensive things and the basics again sometimes."

The Tillsonburg native who attends the University of Guelph had some added fire in him, facing some of his teammates from the Gryphons' baseball team.

"It's always good to compete against them," said Fishback with a big grin. "It was a competitive atmosphere. You love to see that in baseball. It's great to play against them."

Tomcats' pitcher Eric Pettipiece picked up the win, sharing the load with starter Alex Pettipiece and Ben Hubert.

St. Thomas was to host a exhibition double-header against the Windsor Selects Saturday, but weather washed out the twin bill. Coach Pettipiece had a pitching plan in place for five games in three days but that will change.

The Tomcats host the Stratford Nationals for two league games Sunday, starting at noon at Emslie.

Upcoming July 30-August 1 in St. Thomas, is an eight team 22U Ontario Baseball Association AAA championship. The Tomcats open with Newmarket, 5:30 p.m. Friday, at Emslie.

"Having the (championship) has kind of changed the focus," said coach Pettipiece, referring to extending innings for starting pitchers and game strategy. "We're now treating every game like it's an elimination game in terms of trying to get the line-up. We're starting to play a little small ball in the right situations."

Those situations never occurred against Guelph.

"We had our three-four-five guys coming up in that last inning. But if we had our leadoff guy got on, probably would have seen a bunt," explained the Tomcats' coach. "Whenever that position (runners in scoring position) came up in the game we had our three-four-five guys in there. With like Josh Hare, if I have a guy on, I'm letting him try to one over the fence. We have some big bats right there."

In four at bats, Hare finished with as single and three walks and scored three runs. Martini and Brad Verhoven, each drew two free passes to first base.

Guelph scored two runs in the third inning and one in the fifth.

Tomcats' pitchers Jaryd Lund and Connor Ambrogio were with the London Majors of the Intercountry Baseball League Friday.







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